Suvi Sundquist: Wouldn't it be wise to invest in children?

Nordic Business Forum 2014 discussed disruption and the way forward with an outstanding line of speakers and 5000+ attendees. I couldn't help noticing that business leadership gurus were cherishing the same things we should cherish in children: creativity, finding personal talent, pursuing dreams and collaboration.

The rise of Creativity

Current education systems have been developed for the industrial era. But we've moved in to a knowledge-based economy. Life is not linear anymore, explained Sir Ken Robinson, writer, professor and creativity expert (he holds the record for the most viewed TEDTalk ever with "How schools kill creativity"). Technology has disrupted everything from businesses to social culture. And technological development is only getting faster. One can't expect to go through a pipeline of formal education and then be permanently employed for 40 years. So jump into the chaos and seize opportunities, advised Business Forum speakers.

Creativity is at the heart of modern education and ways of doing business. "If we get this right, we'll see a new dawn of human culture" forecasted Sir Ken Robinson. The good news is that creativity comes with being human. The least we should expect from education is not to kill it.

Education will be disrupted

As businesses are being disrupted, many of the Nordic Business Forum speakers wondered why education operates the way it does. The thing is education will be disrupted too. As businesses call for a more creative workforce, new demands are being set also on education. Globally, education expenditure is estimated at 4,4 trillion USD (3,5 trillion euros). Technology will disrupt this "business" too. More people will have access to education. More people will have access to top education. Education will spread more throughout life, according to demand and irrespective of time and place.

Dropout stars

Interestingly, many of the Business Forum speakers mentioned they were school dropouts. Why do you think that is? Is it because in order to succeed today one must question rules and authority? Surely you can't build a successful business by sitting quietly and waiting for your turn. Or how about the amazing growth stories in TV formats such as Talent? Jonathan Antoine, who performed at the Business Forum, was prejudiced even as he stepped on stage at Britain's got Talent. His case is an example of what many of the Business Forum speakers highlighted as the key to success: Help find personal talent, build teams, cherish creativity, empower people.

Wouldn't it be wise to invest in children? Hold on to their natural creativity and refine it. Our dropouts include gems that the whole system missed. We need everyone's talent to shine in order to build a better future.

The writer Suvi Sundquist is passionate about learning innovations. The Finnish funding agency for innovation Tekes funds and fosters innovations in Finland.


Pia Mörk